Congress

How do medicines affect breast-feeding? Congress passes bill requiring study

A decal reading "Breastfeeding Welcomed Here" is displayed on the door to a store in Nashville, Tenn. Congress on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would require the federal government to study the health risks that women face from taking medication while breast-feeding.
A decal reading "Breastfeeding Welcomed Here" is displayed on the door to a store in Nashville, Tenn. Congress on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would require the federal government to study the health risks that women face from taking medication while breast-feeding. AP

A bill that would require the federal government to conduct more research into health risks faced by women who use medications while breast-feeding is headed to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday, marking a win for its chief author, Washington state Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. The House passed the bill last week.

The bill, called the Safe Medications for Moms and Babies Act, would create a new task force of federal and medical experts to study the issue and report to Congress. It’s co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor of Florida.

Herrera Beutler got the legislation included in the 21st Century Cures Act, a broader measure dealing with medical cures and devices.

Herrera Beutler, 38, who gave birth to her second child in May, said that women often must choose whether to take medications with unknown and potentially harmful effects or not to treat their medical conditions at all.

Rob Hotakainen: 202-383-6154, @HotakainenRob

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